The introduction of a Building Energy Rating will give any buyer or tenant an indication of the cost of heating the property.

Building Energy Rating (BER) to be introduced to ensure that buyers and tenants can take energy performance into account when deciding where they want to live. Over the past ten years, there have been 600,000 houses built, many to basic energy standards. From January 2009, those energy standards will become public to any prospective buyer or tenant. 

Under the new legislation, any house or apartment for sale or let must have a BER Certificate, which identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the property in terms of energy efficiency. According to Kevin O'Rourke from Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) properties with a good energy rating will attract a premium and will sell more easily.

At a cost of around €200, assessors will visit the property to determine how energy efficient or deficient it is. They will examine everything from light bulbs and heating systems to windows and insulation.  The ratings will range from A1 for the most energy efficient to G for least energy efficient. 

Paul Mugatroyd of Douglas Newman Good (DNG) Estate Agents believes that a good energy rating may not always mean a quick sale. 

There are concerns over the legislation as new apartments will be assigned an energy rating from plans rather than a site visit. However, Paula Rice of SEI, is confident that the system will work. 

The big shame is that the BER scheme didn't happen ten years ago.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 October 2008. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.